The Clark County commissioners Wednesday approved a 100-percent, 15-year tax abatement allowing Speedway to expand its corporate headquarters and create as many as 200 new jobs.
Officials from the convenience store chain sought the enterprise zone agreement as part of a potential $48.3 million project to build a roughly 140,000 square foot facility that would connect two existing buildings on its campus at 500 Speedway Drive. Speedway also plans to create at least 200 new, full-time corporate and office support jobs over the next three to four years as a result of its parent company’s recent acquisition of Andeavor, a refining firm headquartered in Texas.
Local economic development officials said Speedway is considering other sites, but the tax agreement is part of a package that will make Enon more competitive and make sure the project remains in Clark County. The company is also working with state officials for additional potential incentives said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. The company is also in talks with officials from the Greenon Local School District, he said.
“As a community you can never take for granted the impact of a company to your community,” Hobbs said.
Statewide, Speedway employs about 1,090 full-time workers, excluding retail store and field support employees, according to documents provided to the county as part of the request. Speedway’s existing payroll is listed at just shy of $73 million annually. The company said it plans to make a final decision by the end of this month, said Beth Hunter, Speedway’s chief financial officer.
Speedway’s current corporate headquarters includes two separate buildings. The project would create a new 140,000 square-foot facility between those buildings to create an enclosed campus that could house as many as 1,750 total workers as the company continues to grow, Hunter said. Speedway also employs 230 workers at a separate building at the NextEdge industrial park. Those employees could relocate to the new facility as part of the project, although company officials said details have not yet been determined.
Along with Enon, documents provided to the Clark County commissioners indicate Speedway is also considering two undisclosed locations outside of Ohio. The enterprise zone agreement would only cover taxes on new construction, and the company’s existing taxes would remain in place.
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The project, if it moves forward, will begin late this year and be finished by the second half of 2020. Speedway’s proposed hiring schedule would add about 75 employees next year and another 75 in 2020. Speedway expects to hire about 50 more workers in 2021. The estimated payroll for the new workers would be between $12 million and $15 million.
“The 100-percent, 15-year abatement will be an instrumental part of the business case for the Enon location as it reduces ongoing operating costs to help make Enon a cost-effective site for expansion,” the enterprise agreement states.
Marathon, based in Findlay, is the parent company of Speedway. Marathon’s recent $23.3 billion acquisition of Andeavor, a rival refining company based in Texas, added an estimated 1,100 convenience store outlets to the Speedway’s portfolio.
Marathon officials have pledged to maintain a presence in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the acquisition. But Andeavor also had employees at sites in Tempe, Ariz and in Woodbury, Minn., Hunter said. The new employees in Springfield would provide office support and administrative roles for the additional convenience stores.
The News-Sun reported earlier this month Speedway has already started converting about 200 SuperAmerica branded retail locations into the Speedway brand.
Speedway operated about 2,800 stores before its acquisition of Andeavor. The chain now operates about 3,900 convenience stores across the U.S., according to information from the company.
Speedway’s footprint along the East Coast has boomed over the past few years. The retail chain operated about 1,500 stores, mostly in the Midwest, just a few years ago. But in 2015, Speedway’s $2.8 billion acquisition of Hess nearly doubled the size of the chain, adding hundreds of locations along the East Coast and South. It’s acquisition of the additional retail stores now gives Speedway a national presence.
The fact a national company like Speedway is headquartered in Clark County will not only mean jobs, but it signals the region is a viable location for other firms considering a move to the region, Hobbs said.
“Headquarters operations in general are critical to the economic vitality of a community,” he said